Yesterday I attended the Cardiovascular Health & Rehabilitation Association of NSW & ACT 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting and was delighted to hear Prof Chris Semsarian‘s talk entitled Genomics in Cardiac Clinical Practice: Shaping the Future. Part of the talk discussed cardiac conditions including sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) & long QT syndrome (LQTS) and how genetics is helping screen patients. Robust screening provides patients, their care team and, significantly in genetic medicine, family members information with which they can make informed decisions.
Prof Semsarian provided a couple of examples of how screening can help patients make informed decisions, but the most dramatically illustrated was the below case in which screening informed a competitive footballer that he is at risk of SCA. He chose to continue an activity that elevated his risk (playing football) but knowing of the condition, elected for an ICD. Here’s some amazing footage of an implanted device saving his life:
While there is much work to do and our technological advances amplify the opportunities, footage like this demonstrates we live in an amazing time.
Prof Semsarian also mentioned how wearable devices such as the AliveCor Mobile ECG are assisting the patients and their care team in understanding their conditions for clinical and research purposes. Timely use of wearable devices can provide useful information for both purposes, as illustrated in this social media exchange.